Pro Sports League Jobs – Legal Counsel

Sports league legal counsel is a very tough job to obtain. This requires extensive experience at non-sports firms. Many of the people that acquire these positions work at a firm that deals with the league as an outside counsel on matters that can’t be handled internally. In the process of working with the league, the outside counsel is able to prove their abilities and make personal relationships with the current league legal counsel as well as other league personnel.

As with any other legal counsel jobs, league employees at this position deal with contract issues related to all aspects of operation, from sponsorship to marketing, to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and revenue sharing. There are some key aspects and legal issues that are often dealt with at the league level, some of which are listed below:

  • 1. Term of agreement
    • a) Unilateral or bilateral outs
    • b) Right of first refusal
  • 2. Territory of granted rights
  • 3. Category of granted rights
    • a) Brands
    • b) Pass-through
    • c) Exclusivity
    • d) Convergence
  • 4. Full definition of granted rights
    • a) Trademarks and all benefits
  • 5. Rights fee
    • a) Amount and structure of payments
    • b) In-Kind (amount, quality, delivery, roll-over)
    • c) Business conversion ( preferred pricing)
  • 6. Indemnification and other liabilities
    • a) Product liability
  • 7. Work stoppage clauses
  • 8. Morals clauses
  • 9. Mediation clauses
  • 10. Terms of breach


Compensation at the league level is higher than at the team level in most cases. The main reasons for this are the amount of money leagues are dealing with and the greater level of responsibility.  Another key factor is that leagues tend to hire more experienced people that have spent a number of years working at the team level. One other benefit at the league level is that they often pay a portion of relocation costs (something that is rarely if ever done at the team level).

Salary levels vary substantially, depending upon the level of managerial responsibility, length of service, education, professional level (minor league versus top professional league), location, and sport.

Major League Baseball: $92,000 – $115,000
National Football League: $95,000 – $125,000
National Basketball Association: $85,000 – $105,000
National Hockey League: $72,000 – $100,000
NASCAR: Unavailable

Pro Sports League Jobs – Public Relations